Always miss the first one

Kurt finally got me in gear to go hunting.  I put off going till now.  Too many leaves still on the bushes and too warm.  Last night was our first freeze I think, and as we drove to the Douglas ramp I saw ice on car windshields.  After blowing near a gale over night, the winds calmed down just as the weatherman predicted.  Blowing at Pt Bishop about 20 kts at 6 am.  Then kts 10 at 7 am.  So looked like we could go south of town. It was almost flat running down the channel and over to Admiralty.  Friends at work had got several deer in the flats near the beach in the past few weeks, so I picked a spot Matt and I went to last year.  It was so good to get out.   Sometime inertia seems to grab hold and I find every excuse not to go.  As soon as I leave the dock, I wonder how I could have any excuse for not going. We anchored the boat off, ran the line from the anchor up the beach to a tree, shouldered our packs, and headed into the woods.  The blueberry leaves were yellow.  Most were still holding on but it won’t be long now.  Another freeze and some wind and they’ll be gone. The place went to hunt rises fairly gradually up to a steep hill that’s essentially a cliff. It’s not far from the beach to the hill – maybe half a mile.  There are a few muskegs at the base of the hill.  We worked our way up, called at the first spot where we could see a little, and nothing.  In the next little clearing, on my second series of calls, I swore I heard a little mewing but since I didn’t hear or see any movement, it never registered.  Then here comes a doe charging in.  She was no further than 20 yards – maybe 10 – when I raised the gun.  Already had a shell in the chamber, so clicked off the safety, put the neck in the scope, and fired.   Clean miss.  Doe looked like she was kinda mad that a fawn could make such a noise, then realized maybe it’s not a fawn, and turned and sauntered away as I shot and cleanly missed again.  Kurt, who was right next to me not 10 yards away could not see the doe because there was a bush between him and the deer.  I had all the time in the world to be calm, get a rest, put the crosshairs in the right place and squeeze the trigger, but as it seems the first deer every year, I rushed the shot and missed cleanly. At the next spot where we called, Kurt saw one but it seems it was moving away from us, not coming to the call.  I never saw it.   We worked our way up to the muskegs at the base of the hill and never saw another deer.  Not much sign, either, of deer or bear.  We had lunch in a big muskeg in the sun and dry air.  When we swung down to the beach, we were a good half mile or so down the beach from the boat and so a long, steady, slow walk back on the beach rocks at mid-tide.    Luckily, once we got down to the beach we had just enough beach to get through a few spots without having to climb up into the woods, which were pretty brushy.  Kurt forgot to bring the Ranier so I told him all the way back how good one would have tasted right then.   A great first day of deer hunting. 

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